My dog was bitten at the dog park. The owner of the dog that bit mine does not want to pay the bills. What can I do?

My 11 month old red heeler was bitten by a german shepherd at the dog park. She ended up needing surgery to close the wound. My dog did nothing to provoke the bite. She ran after a ball, got there first, dropped it at put her front paws on the ground (butt in the air, tail wagging) in a play stance. The owner of the dog does not want to pay the vet bills. What are my rights. Some people have said you go to the dog park at your own risk... so the owner is not liable. Is that true? One of the owners (female) did say that the dog was very protective of its owner (male)...which they now deny saying. FYI, we live in Texas (if that makes a difference).

Asked by Member 1070588 on Nov 14th 2011 Tagged dogbite, legal, bite, dogpark in Other Laws & Legislation
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You would have to check the rules for your particular park but any I have known you assume all risks yourself by entering the park.
This assumption of risk goes for both your pet AND yourself should you get bitten while there.
I am pretty sure this is the rule at all dog parks since most of them are on public property and the assumption of risk is the same for all public parks whether dog or human.

Member 641257 answered on 11/14/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


All that "at your own risk" stuff is an attempt to relieve the Public Facility of responsibility. That even works sometimes.

However, it's going to come down to an issue of "you say/she says", and that's good enough for a Suit in Small Clams Court. You got a 50/50 chance of happening on a sympathetic Judge.

I'd take her to Court, and at least she'd have to foot the bill for Defense if nothing else.

You'd at least have the satisfaction knowing she paid for "something", and it wouldn't cost you hardly anything.

SNEAKERS answered on 11/14/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Bruno CGC

I think dog parks are inherently risky, kind of like skate boarding or hang gliding. Dog fights are a common occurrence everywhere large groups of unfamiliar dogs get together without leashes or fences to keep them apart. It would be nice if the other owner offered to pay, but I doubt she's legally required to. It depends on things like: Was there a sign that said "Use dog park at your own risk"? Did the attacking dog have a history of aggressive behavior? (Making it therefore negligent to bring said dog to an off-leash park) Here's a basic overview of dog park bite liability:

If you want specific legal advice, I'd suggest asking a lawyer. My own opinion is that our culture is much too sue-happy already and that dogs are not little people, they are animals, and expecting peaceful behavior at all times is a bit much. But I'm no lawyer and don't know if you have a viable suit here or not.

Bruno CGC answered on 11/14/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


This is why we never go to a dog park, to many people out there that do not care and are not responsible for the actions of their dog. I would turn the dog into animal control or the police in your area. Around here if your dog bites someone or another dog, they are listed as a problem dog and then the owner has to pay a fine and watch to make sure there is never another problem.
Good luck.

Dunkin answered on 11/14/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I'm not sure of the rules in TX but here in NYC some parks do have signs posted enter at your own risk, however, I did see a German Shepared attack a small Lasa and showed aggression towards the other dogs, THE Lasa needed 42 stitches. During the attack I called the police canine unit and they arrived and took the shepered from the park, The owner knew the dog was aggressive and did nothing to warn anyone and his dog to bully others. I and two others went to small claims court as witnesses and the Lasa's owner won the case and the Shepards owner had to pay up. Of course we all love our dogs but we must remember they're still animals and run on instinct, It's up to the owner to be aware of there dogs aggression and behavior
Good luck, I hope your baby is fully recovered.
ps, take a few hours and research your towns rules or call the chamber of commerce.

Member 1069277 answered on 11/16/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer